Increase COVID-19 support scheme to more businesses – Chamber of Commerce tells Gov’t
Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Executive Director, NBSSI
The Chairman of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Accra Branch, Nana Kwame Agyenim Boateng, has called on the government to widen the scope of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme in order to support more private enterprises.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has said more than one hundred and ten thousand businesses have completed their application for the GHS 1 billion Business Support Scheme.
The Scheme, which was launched in May 2020 is aimed at supporting small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) across the country that has been negatively affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking at the launch of a new web portal for the Accra Chamber, the Chairman, Nana Kwame Agyenim Boateng, said the government’s stimulus package in its current state, is insufficient, hence, should be expanded.
“The Masloc Loan and credit Union and the Government of Ghana Loans are part of measures to improve access to credit. There is a rising cost in foreign exchange even though there is no trade on going. The President of the Chamber has appealed to Government to expand the support to the private sector as the total amount is woefully inadequate to address the financial needs.”
Mr. Agyenim Boateng added that “despite assurances from Banks to reduce the interest rate on loans, these promises are nothing to go by”.
“Banks on the other hand have confirmed that they will support viable businesses during these disruptions, but we ask ourselves at what cost because we’ve seen policy rates drop in this country but the actual bank rates do not go down accordingly” he lamented.
Other interventions made by the government
Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has announced a new initiative to reinforce the economy called the COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support Programme.
This three-year plan is also known as the Ghana Cares programme. According to the Finance Minister, it will take about three years for the Ghanaian economy to fully recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, May 28, 2020, the Finance Minister indicated that the programme will ensure the sustained growth of the economy.
“The Ministry of Finance is developing a three-year COVID-19 alleviation and revitalization of enterprise support programme –the Ghana Cares programme–to help revitalize the economy.”
“We are confident that this programme will help us stabilize and revitalize the economy,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.